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UT School of Dentistry dedicates new building

Friday, June 8, 2012 - 4:37pm


UT School of Dentistry dedicated its new building today.

The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston dedicated its new building Friday, June 8 in a special ceremony on the front steps of the school at 7500 Cambridge St. It is the first new location for UTSD since 1955. Photo by Brian Schnupp.

Hundreds of visitors, employees and students turned out Friday, June 8 for the official ribbon-cutting  and dedication of a new, $155 million building for The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. The 300,000 square foot facility is located at 7500 Cambridge St. on the southern edge of the Texas  Medical Center. The School of Dentistry is part of UT Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The new school is packed with technological innovations that will change the learning experience for all
kinds of students – dental, dental hygiene, postdoctoral or licensed professionals seeking continuing education credit. Simulation mannequins and virtual patients help students learn about and prepare for treating different and complex dental conditions. Students also can observe various procedures through
video cameras and other multi-media devices.

UTSD currently has approximately 500 students and about 180 employees. In fall 2012, the school will
increase enrollment in the DDS program by 20 percent.

UTHealth President ad interim Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., noted that the first week of June looms large in UT School of Dentistry’s history. The school opened in June 1905 and exactly 50 years later, in June 1955, moved into its fifth location, a completely new building students and employees dubbed “the pink palace” for its spaciousness and the pinkish granite used on the exterior.

That’s the building the School of Dentistry left behind in mid-May, moving 1 mile south to the corner of Cambridge Street and East Road in UT Research Park.

"As a dentist, educator and alumnus of this school, I'm especially grateful to the people of Texas for this new building, which represents a major investment in oral health for the 21st century and beyond," said John A. Valenza, D.D.S., dean of the school.  “We’ve dedicated a lot of our attention and energy to this project – especially this past year – but now it’s full speed ahead fulfilling our mission of excellence in education, patient care and research."

Texas Rep. Jim Pitts (left) and Sen. Judith Zaffirini present Dean John Valenza with a Texas flag that flew over the capitol on Dec. 7, 2009, the day construction began on the new school. Photo by Brian Schnupp.

Texas Rep. Jim Pitts (left) and Senator Judith Zaffirini present Dean John Valenza with a Texas flag that flew over the capitol in December 2009, when construction of the new school began.


 Guest speakers at the dedication ceremony included two Texas legislators:  Rep. Jim Pitts, chairman of the Texas House Committee on Appropriations, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education and the Joint Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellency and Transparency. 

UT System was represented by Kenneth Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs, and the program also included remarks from Richard Valachovic, DMD, executive director of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).

UTHealth covered the event on Twitter (#utdental).